Here are the tickets, the red markings are from TSA agents with their red pens.
Airbus A320-200 (N363NW)
Depart: 12:56 PM
Arrive: 2:02 PM
Photo © John Muzic
BEFORE: I arrived at the airport around 11:30 for my 12:56 departure. I was excited, and ready to go. I said so long to my brother, and I walked into the terminal. I headed over to the NWA check-in, and I decided to do it electronically on the machine. As I walked, I noticed that at MSP, they have these round thinks that hang from the ceiling that has the airlines logo which has that airlines check-in counter below. It looks very modern, and it's helpful to find your airline. I went to the machine, and I checked in. It took me about 2 minutes. I was originally put in a middle seat at travelocity.com, but when I got to the machine, I chose 'change seat' and I picked 22A, which was a window seat. I made my way to security, and I talked to TSA agent about Chicago as I went through. He told me that he's been there a few times, and he'd rather pay to fly there, because it's a pain in the ass to drive 6 hours, rather than to fly for 1 hour. I got past security, and decided to go to the gate right away for some reason (I forgot about the damn observation deck!). I got to the gate, and I got bored, because I had a hour left. So I walked back, and went to the new C concourse extension for regionals. WOW, I mean WOW, this thing looks FANTASTIC! It looks very welcoming and modern. The underground walkway's pretty cool which connects to the new little terminal. It's funny to see a Saab340 parked with a jetway leading up to it! Anyway, I walked back to my gate, G22, which is inconveniently located ALLL the way at the other end. I got there, and we had about 20 minutes left. I saw N661US, a Northwest 747-400 from Tokyo in new colors, I didn't have time to snatch my camera. I then saw a USAir Express ERJ takeoff, what the hell is USAir Express ERJ doing at MSP? Is it that bad, have they downgraded their 2+ hour flight to an ERJ?? Yikes. A few minutes later, they called general boarding to Midway. I saw Midway on the little screen, FINALLY, MSP has the new LCD screens like almost all the airports do! Last time at MSP, they didn't have them.
BOARDING: I walked up to the gate, and the lady told me I didn't need to show the ID since I already showed it 8,000 times to other people. I walked down the very very long jetway to the A320. I got on the A320, and headed straight to my seat, which was 22A. It had a nice view of the wing. I stowed my bag under the seat, and anxiously waited for the pushback. There was a nice lady who sat in the aisle next to me. After waiting about 15 minutes, the main cabin door was shut, and the engines started up as we pulled out of the gate.
TAXI: This was my first time in an A320, I've been on a Lufthansa A321 before, and they were similar. We made our way to 12R for departure. I expected to wait about 10 minutes in line like always, but we were number one for takeoff. We pulled up to the runway, and we saw a 757-200 come over and touchdown. We pulled onto the runway, and we were ready to depart to KMDW as NWA flight 672.
TAKEOFF: The takeoff was usual. The pilot applied a lot of thrust, and we started going down the runway really fast. I noticed an A320 in new colors land on 12L on the roll. We then rotated, and I got a fantastic view of all the NWA aircraft on the ground. I didn't have my camera out, so I didn't get any photos of takeoff.
INFLIGHT: We took a slight turn to the right after takeoff. We were then climbing on our way up to FL270. I then whipped out the camera. I took my first inflight shot.
I really like the winglets of the A320s, especially on NWA. I like the little logo they applied to it. After a while, we were almost at FL270. We were almost into the clouds.
We flew south to Iowa, then turned towards Chicago once were were over Iowa.
Since this flight was strictly over the midwest, the majority of the things you'll see in the air is farmland. Tons and tons of farmland, there'll never be a shortage of food, look at all of it!! I found the pattern of the trees on the land very interesting. I wasn't expecting anything on the flight, not even a beverage. The F/As came around, so I got an orange juice. I even got a little bag of 'Spinzels', they're pretty good, they were buttery! I remember in 98' when I was going to Croatia, we flew MSP-ORD on UA, and we got a box in economy with a sandwich, chips, fruit, candybar, and a drink. Man the times have changed! After 45 minutes, we made our descent into the Chicago area. We passed this little airport in Illinois which appeared to be adding a new runway!
We were getting closer and closer to Midway. I was ready to land! I threw away my garbage, and grabbed my camera again. We started to slow down for the approach, so the pilot applied some spoilers.
This little kid behind me got really annoying, he was flying by himself from PDX-MSP-MDW. He kept kicking my seat, and making these louds noises. When there was turbulence, he'd say 'They're shooting at us!' It was sort of funny.
LANDING: We turned final for 31C, and we made our way down the glideslope. I've seen pictures here of aircraft landing at MDW, and skimming over the rooftops. I had to witness this! We got closer and closer, then I heard BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP. The batteries on my camera had just ran out, and I didn't want to waste time changing batteries and miss the approach, so I didn't get pics of the approach. WOW, the approach was amazing. I was shocked, you do come in SOOOO low over the rooftops! The people who live on the end of the approach are so lucky, they can photograph from their yards! We had a touchdown which was pretty good, the pilot applied full thrust because he touched down a little late, and the runway wasn't that long. We pulled off 31C, and passed the ATA hangars. I've seen ATA at MSP, so I wasn't too excited. Then we passed the Southwest hangars and I got really excited! I saw my first Southwest aircraft in the hangar! It was cool! We taxiied to the B concourse, the part of the concourse that is by the C concourse, it's basically the concourses for the 'non-lowfare' airlines. We pulled into gate B2.
DEPLANING: I got off the plane after a majority of the people left. I walked to the front, and decided to ask the pilot if he knew the registration of the aircraft, because I didn't know it and I wanted to know. So he welcomed me into the cockpit, for some reason the co-pilot wasn't there, he left right away after the engines were cut. We talked about the reg, and I told him why NW has US and NB in their other aircraft, and NB's on the 319's. He told me he never knew that, he thought it was all NW! He then told me he was new to NWA, so he doesn't know much about that! We talked about flight lessons, and how he just bought a Muskateer aircraft. Then I shook his hand, thanked him, and left. I walked up the jetway to the terminal.
TERMINAL: WOW, MDW is better then I expected! I thought it was going to be all stinky and junky, but WOW, the terminal looks super new! I immediately walked down to the end of the B concourse to explore. There was a bunch of Southwest flights leaving, I was super excited to see Southwest! I looked out the window to see a USAir Express ERJ takeoff, and a Chicago Express ATA Saab340 land. Those look really nice! There was an ATA flight leaving for Denver, so after that I left that area. I went back to the NWA gates, and I put new batteries in my camera. When I got back, the NWA A320 was ready to head back to MSP. I snatched a few photos of it.
It was backed out, and the engines were started. The flight was ready to head back to MSP.
The aircraft was pushed all the way back, and then it was disconnected from the tug.
It then began it's taxi back to an active for departure back to MSP.
I walked out of the secure area, and up to check-in. I decided to check in a few hours early for my flight back. I went to the electronic checkin, and checked in in about 2 minutes again! It's so convenient! I then walked outside of the terminal to see the weather. It was pretty hot outside, and people were waiting for others to pick them up at the drop off/pick up area. I noticed the A320 was still taxiing. A few aircraft landed, and a Southwest 737 took off. Then I saw the A320 I was just on go up into the air, and take a hard right turn. After it was out of sight, I walked back downstairs, and into the security area. There were a ton, I mean a ton of Southwest adds on the wall, seems like a very nice airline! I walked up to the agent, and the AirTran pilots behind me got to go to the 'employee' section. The agent wrote with the red pen on my ticket to confirm that I'm ok to be in the terminal area (stupid Bush). Then I walked to the x-ray machines, and got through fast. The TSA agents here are quick, a little too quick if you know what I mean. They didn't put much effort in the the process. I walked through, and the guy looking at the bags was too busy talking to his workmate, he didn't even look at the screen. So I was through in like 30 seconds. I then walked over to the C concourse where Continental, Delta, Frontier, and American operated from. I heard an announcment that there was going to be a 30 minute church service in the chapel at 4. It was 3, so I walked up there to check out the chapel. I met the priest who was really nice, it's run by a couple of old folks who were really nice. I told the priest I'd swing around for the 4 o'clock service, I didn't want to go to church on Sunday! I had time, so I went to the food court, and got a pizza. I thought $3.50 was too much for a slice, but HOLY CRAP, this slice was HUGE, and it was possibly some of the best pizza I've ever had, it ranks right up there with the pizza I've had in Italy.
I then walked back to the C concourse, and read the flight boards. It was then around 3:45, so I headed up to the chapel. There were a few people there. So I took my seat in the back of the tiny room. Lots of TSA agents came in, and it looks like a few are regular to the church. Service was nice, but I was surprised, do people in Chicago not give money to church? I thought my $5 was measly, but when people gave nothing I was surprised. After church(it's still funny, church at the airport!?) I headed down to the B concourse again. I wanted to get some Southwest pics. Lots of people were crowded at the window, and a ton had glare, so it wasn't good for pics. I then walked down to the Northwest gates in the B concourse. I saw the 757 from MSP come in, we had a hour and 15 minutes until departure.
I took note of the registration, it was N512US. I remembered the reg. from somewhere... I then started getting nervous, because I have not got any Southwest pics at that time! So I walked anxiously up all the concourses looking for some Southwest aircraft, there were a lot, but the windows were crowded with people. I then found one that was far away, hell, it was better then nothing.
I love those colors on Southwest, it looks very nice! It's possibly the best paint scheme in America. I then got a shot of another 737 in normal colors.
I must say, the normal colors look really nice as well! They are better than a lot of other carriers in the world.
This was my last Southwest shot, it looked nice with all the engine exhaust, and the heat blurring out some of the hotels in the background. It was getting closer to boarding time, so I headed to the Hallmark store to get a Chicago postcard for my mom. I paid 82 cents for that postcard! I then called my brother, and let him know I was heading back to MSP.
Flight 615 (continues to Spokane, WA)
Boeing 757-200 (N512US, it's the aircraft in the pic above)
Depart: 6:12 PM
Arrive: 7:35 PM
BOARDING: They always board the back of the aircraft after first class and special needs, so I got on right away. Since I was in 31A, I got another window seat. I liked this seat, it had a nice view outside. The seat wasn't wide though, the A320's seats were fantastic, they were really wide and comfortable. The seats here were small and normal. The main cabin was shut, and they showed the safety demonstration as we pulled out.
TAXI: We were the largest aircraft at the airport at that time (LOL!). We began our taxi to runway 4R.
I got my last few glimpses at the two carriers who dominate this nice airport.
I was treated to another Southwest 737! After visiting this airport, I really wanted to fly Southwest someday, I guess I caught the 'Southwest-Bug.' We then taxiied away from the terminal, and I was treated once more to another Southwest 737. I was excited over the ATA 737-800, since we get them everyday here at MSP.
That was it for Southwest, I didn't see them again. We made our way to 4R pretty quickly. We passed the general aviation area, and the tower.
We continued to 4R. We stopped before the runway, and we passed Atlantic Aviation hangar. MDW is unique, it's plopped right in the middle of a residential area. It was cool to see the fence, then right behind it someone's backyard. They are lucky, the just look out their window and see a big 757 taxi by. We passed Kerry's auto collision center. After waiting for a Chicago Express ATA Saab340 to land, and an ATA 737 to takeoff, it was finally our turn to go. We pulled onto the runway.
TAKEOFF: The pilot applied full thrust, and we didn't move. That's because he had the breaks on, he wanted to let the engines get ot full power before he let the breaks go because the runway isn't that long. I heard they also do this at SXM. We went rocketing down the runway after the jolt which came from the releasing of the breaks. We rotated pretty early actually.
We got up into the air, and climbed nicely. I saw a 727 of USPS, and an American Fokker F-100 not at the gates, it was static.
We then took a turn after takeoff, which was to the left, over the residential neighborhoods.
We kept flying left for a while.
Photo © John Muzic
The 757 continued to fly left, then it finally leveled the wings. We got a good last glimpse at MDW.
The departure was scarier then hell! We leveled off really low, and he cut the engines. I knew this was part of the departure plan, so I wasn't worried. The engines didn't seem like they were running for three minutes, and we didn't gain any altitude. A few minutes later, the engines came back into force, and we were then climbing.
INFLIGHT: I was sitting next to this hot chick who was from Chicago, and flying to MSP to see friends, because she lives there. She thought I was older, and asked where's some good places to drink. She was 21! I told her that I was only 16. She was very nice, she kept talking almost the entire flight to me! We then climbed into the clouds, and we saw another aircraft leaving a contrail passing us heading west to east.
We cruised our way up to FL310. The pilot was making all these wrong announcments. He told us we might arrive 20 minutes early. How the hell were we going to make it into MSP in 35 minutes!?
Our 757 was an awesome performer! We made our way up to FL310, right where Illinois meets Iowa, it got hazy.
We got 'Spinzels' pretzels by Harvest Road again. The girl next to me said she doesn't really like pretzels, but these were good because of the butter. Everyone got a half-can of soda. The girl next to me ordered tonic water and gin. The gin came in these two tiny bottles which looked cool. It cost $10, I don't know anything about gin, so I couldn't say if it were a good price or not. The F/As skipped me, so I asked can I have a drink. So I asked for a Sierra Mist, and they gave me the whole can since they were done with this part of the cabin. The seat pitch on the 757 is normal, but on the A320 is was REALLY nice! Legroom's never a problem, I always stick my feet and legs under the person's seat in front of me! We made our way over Dubuque, Iowa, Mason City, Waterloo, and then up 35E to MSP. We were 31,000 feet up, and there was still clouds/haze below us, and on top of us. So for about 25 minutes we got nothing to look at outside except one 757 wing. A few minutes later, we made our descent 55 miles from the airport. We broke through all the crappy clouds, and had a relatively smooth descent. I threw away my garbage, and I talked to the girl about college, and jobs. We then talked about landing and takeoffs as we made our way to final. I told her that landing was harder than takeoffs, because there are soo many things to do. She told me she wonders how a little discman like hers would effect a plane. I told her people would pay attention to their CDs rather than landing, especially when most accidents occur. I said who cares, do what you want, I kept my camera on the entire time! We made our way onto final.
It was relatively smooth the entire way down, the pilot applied flaps, and then eventually let the wheels down. We were approaching 12R, the runway which I took off that morning, so that means we'd fly over the residential area, and pass Minneapolis and fly over Cedar Avenue.
It was hazy around MSP, though it was still ideal for photography! We got lower and lower, and we were almost to 12R.
LANDING: We were almost there.
If you look closely at that photo, you'll see Lake Nacomis, Cedar Avenue, and Hope Church, you should know where this is if you live or lived around MSP. We passed that, and made our way over the marshy areas before 12R. We passed over, and I took one last shot.
It just so happens that NW's new A319 in new colors happened to slip into the picture! It looks really nice. We had a nice touchdown, and the girl said this was the worst part, the landing! At first I thought we weren't going to use reverse thrust because we rolled with spoilers for a while, and then it reverse thrust, and it was LOUD! We then pulled off 12R, and began our way to C4. As we taxiied, I watched the A319 takeoff. We made a pretty fast taxi to the gate. I was surprised at the weather, I took off in pure sun, and arrived back a few hours later in crappy weather. We passed an Icelandair 757 heading out to 12L for departure to Rejkavik. We arrived at C4, and the pilot cut the engines. I got up, and went straight to the bathroom. I couldn't wait, I really had to go, and I wasn't prepared to wait for all the people in the front to get off the aircraft. I got out, picked up my bag, and went to the front, said 'so long' and got off the looong 757. I walked down the jetway. The aircraft had one or two people already waiting at the gate for the 9:20 departure to Spokane, WA. I walked around the terminal, and then headed to the payphones. On the way, I saw the Icelandair 757 go really fast down the runway, then lift off. I called my brother, then 30 minutes later, I was in the car on the way home, thus concluding my daytrip to Chicago.
CONCLUSION AND THOUGHTS: I was really pleased with NWA. I've never been on an A320 or a 757(as far as I could remember). NWA made these flights really nice, the cabin crew was great, especially the pilot on the MSP-MDW flight. I will definetely do one of these daytrips again this year, I'll try to go someplace different, if I go to MDW again, I won't be dissapointed! I'll try NWA again anytime, they are really great! I'll do more picture reports next time, over the next few weeks I'm heading to EWR on Continental, and to MCO on Northwest. I must say, I fell in love with Southwest Airlines. I did't even fly them, and I still like them! I really hope to fly them someday. Maybe I'll do another daytrip to Chicago, a flight early in the morning from MSP, then take a Southwest flight, then Southwest back to MDW, then a flight back to MSP. I'll try a daytrip in a few months maybe that has a few stops! Northwest gets a very happy customer(me) from flying me! I'd give em' a 10/10, why not a 10/10? They were ahead of schedule, they offered beverages which I didn't expect, and I got to fly on two really sweet aircraft! Thanks for reading my post! I hope you enjoyed it! Is this possibly the world's longest trip report!?!! Have a good one!